Plants That Repel and Attract Mosquitoes

Here in Florida, we aren’t the only ones that enjoy a mild climate throughout the year. Make sure your family can enjoy your backyard this summer by planting these natural bug repellents, understanding why mosquitoes are attracted to humans, and what plants mosquitoes are attracted to.

Here in Florida, we aren’t the only ones that enjoy a mild climate throughout the year—bugs love it, too! Insects like mosquitoes thrive in this environment, wreaking havoc on your family’s peace of mind. These pests can be dangerous to you and your loved ones as they are carriers of diseases such as West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, and Malaria. Here are a few tips to repel mosquitoes indoors and outdoors:

Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

When you’re hosting your first summer BBQ, the last thing you want is for mosquitoes to crash the party. That’s why we have compiled a list of plants that are easy to grow and maintain around your property to naturally repel mosquitoes. Make sure your family can enjoy your backyard this summer by planting these natural bug repellents. Plants that repel mosquitoes include:

  1. Basil– If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you’ll love having fresh basil around. This is the perfect mosquito repellent for pesto lovers! There are a lot of different kinds of basil, but we recommend using lemon basil and cinnamon basil because they have the strongest fragrances.
  2. Lavender– Humans find it calming, but mosquitoes can’t stand it. These purple plants make a great addition to a flower bed or garden, and can even be grown inside to help your home smell nice and keep mosquitoes out.
  3. Rosemary– If you cook lamb, steak, or fish, then you’re familiar with this plant. It’s incredibly easy to grow as it doesn’t require a lot of water. The woody scent that some of us love is what keeps mosquitoes at bay. As an added bonus, rosemary plants are easily pruned and make great borders for gardens, flower beds, or the edge of your landscape.
  4. Lemon Balm– You can chuck that citronella candle – the leaves of this plant, also known as Horsemint, contain citronella compounds in large amounts. Lemon balm is best grown in a planter, as it’s fast-growing, drought-resistant, and reseeds itself quickly.
  5. Marigold– This might be the most effective plant to repel mosquitoes, and it’s certainly the loveliest. You can put potted marigolds near doors and windows so mosquitoes don’t come inside, or plant them outdoors in a flower bed to add to your landscape’s beauty. Marigolds work so well to repel mosquitoes because they contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in most bug repellents.
  6. Catnip– Attract the neighborhood cats and get rid of pesky mosquitoes all at once. Catnip has been proven to be more effective in repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the product found in many bug repellents.
  7. Ageratums– Another name for ageratums is floss flowers. Ageratums have coumarin, which is an ingredient in many commercial mosquito repellents. Most ageratums flowers are blue, but they can also be found in violet, pink, and white blooms. Ageratums don’t need a lot of sunlight or rich soil and are usually found in rock gardens to add color.

Why Are Mosquitoes Attracted To Me?

Most everyone in Central Florida has experienced the itching and irritation a mosquito bite can cause, but do you know what they’re looking for in the first place? Why is it that some people never seem to get bitten, while others are “mosquito magnets?” These bites are caused by female mosquitoes looking for blood that will give them the nutrients they need to produce eggs. Mosquitoes are attracted to humans:

  • Blood: According to scientific research, there are a number of factors that determine what might make someone attract mosquitoes. The most common blood type mosquitoes are attracted to our people with type O blood. A person’s metabolism also plays a role, as well as body temperature.
  • Breath: These pests have odor-sensing palps that seek out the scent of carbon dioxide, which we produce when we exhale. They can detect high concentrations of CO2 from over 150 feet away, alerting them to a potential food source.
  • Scent: Research has shown that the odors humans produce when they sweat are attractive to mosquitoes. Uric acid, lactic acid, and ammonia are all produced by bacteria in human skin, and as you work up a sweat in the summertime, you become more of a treat to nearby bugs.

Plants That Attract Mosquitoes

Planting, gardening, and landscape all have one specific thing in common: they are mosquito magnets! When planning which plants to have around your home, it’s a good idea to know which plants attract mosquitoes. As stated earlier, mosquitoes are attracted to CO2—they are also attracted to water and damp vegetation. Plants that attract mosquitoes include:

  • Flowers
  • Water lilies
  • Water hyacinths
  • Water lettuce
  • Taro
  • Papyrus

Plants vs. Professional Mosquito Repellent

Here at Evergreen, we know how important it is for you to enjoy your backyard. While these plants may offer short-term relief from a few mosquitoes around your home, they won’t prevent the mosquito population from continuing to multiply on your property—especially if you have a garden or pond that includes some of the plants listed above.

When mosquitoes have taken over your backyard, the most effective way to eliminate the problem is to turn to professional mosquito control treatments. If you need help keeping mosquitoes at bay this summer, give the exterminators at Evergreen a call at 407-880-6655!